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World Trade Organization

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international body that seeks to foster free trade and resolve trade issues among member nations. Specifically, the World Trade Organization promotes trade agreements among countries, which provide the rules for the international exchange of goods, services, and intellectual property. World Trade Organization agreements have detailed conditions for resolving trade conflicts; if governments can't resolve trade disputes on their own, they are brought to the World Trade Organization for resolution. One weakness of the World Trade Organization, however, is that its decisions are not accompanied by a significant enforcement mechanism. The World Trade Organization was established in 1995 after the conclusion of the Uruguay Round of trade talks. But the origins of the World Trade Organization extend back much further, to the inauguration of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1948. As of 2004, some 148 countries belonged to the World Trade Organization.

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